The weekend warriors for April 26-28, 2013 includes Pain & Gain and The Big Wedding, along with a few limited releases. Box Office Battlefield is a recurring rundown of all the movie releases for the weekend. Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard earned dollars. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others.
Last weekend, Tom Cruise continued to show audiences that he had star power with Oblivion. This weekend, Michael Bay pushes the limits on how early is too early for the summer movie season to begin. That’s to say if a cheesy rom-com has anything to say about it? Oh, and Matthew McConnaughey appears shirtless again this year ladies.
Can the bad boys of the Sun Gym Gang stand up against Robert De Niro and rom-com heavyweight Kathering Heigl? Or will Maverick swoop in for another win? LET’S GET SWOLL! Box Office Battlefield:
Pain & Gain (Rated R) 130 min – (Directed by Michael Bay) Starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Tony Shaloub, Rebel Wilson, and Bar Paly
Synopsis: A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 47% • Audience – 74%
What is presented as a fast paced, fun, extortion movie ends up as one of the most dull experiences and waste of talent all year long. Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg have proven ability to play wonderful straight-faced characters in hysterical moments, and they are great, but that only takes them so far before it gets old. Pain & Gain is very one-note, painful to watch and you will gain nothing from sitting through this over 2-hour display of protein infused, buffoons. I was looking forward to this break from Michael Baysplosions that we’ve seen with the Transformers movies, but this was a step down for him. NETFLIX IT!
The Big Wedding (Rated R) 90 min – (Directed by Justin Zackham) Starring Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, and Ben Barnes
Synopsis: A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 6% • Audience – 80%
Nothing about The Big Wedding says this will be an enjoyable time. The trailers along with the Tomatometer is hard enough evidence that everyone showed up for a paycheck in this one. The jokes look eye-rolling and you have to wonder what happened to the careers of these actors. I’ve been told from a fellow critic that none of the situations that these characters are put in could ever happen in real life and the jokes are like pulling fingernails. Director Justin Zackham wrote The Bucket List but has had no previous experience in big feature films other than a straight-to-DVD about the college Greek system. DON’T TOUCH IT WITH A TEN FOOT POLE!
Arthur Newman (Rated R) [Limited] 101 min – (Directed by Dante Ariola) Starring Emily Blunt, Colin Firth, Anne Heche, and Sterling Beaumon
Synopsis: A story of a man who fakes his own death and assumes a new identity in order to escape his life, who then moves in with a woman who is also trying to leave her past behind.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 21% • Audience – 13%
Arthur Newman is another movie this weekend that has great actors that are underutilized due to a terrible screenplay by Becky Johnston (Seven Years in Tibet; Under the Cherry Moon). There some great themes that are touched on, but the film doesn’t use any of them to its advantage and is a simple bore. The messages Arthur Newman tries to convey are tired and bring nothing new to the table. Both Blunt and Firth’s characters are put into interesting situations, but the narrative is not strong enough to grab your attention or care about either of them. If you watch the trailer, it looks like some quirky rom-com, but don’t be fooled, it is a semi-depressing tale of two people hiding from their lives. SKIP IT!
Mud (Rated PG-13) [Limited] 130 min – (Directed by Jeff Nichols) Starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, and Sam Shepard
Synopsis: Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 98% • Audience – 85%
Matthew McConnaughey is on fire. Last year he was seen in Magic Mike, Killer Joe, The Paperboy, and Bernie. I’m glad he’s stepping away from rom-coms and getting his just desserts. He is a very gifted actor with good range that will take him far, and in Mud he doesn’t disappoint. There isn’t the greatest plot among the characters here, and the villainous figures are weak, but the build up of relationships seen here is incredible. Mud borderlines on mublecore, but it feels really raw and dirty since it’s taking place in bufu-middle-of-nowhere Arkansas. The lead kid actors are also fantastic. From the director of Take Shelter, this is definitely an upgrade. MATINEE IT!
There’s also a little film called Kon-Tiki that for some reason seems to be gaining a lot of exposure. If you’re in LA or NY this weekend, you might want to check it out. It doesn’t look too appealing, but it could be harmless as a matinee or best watched on a rainy day.
Mud and Arthur Newman debut in less than 500 theaters each this weekend. Oblivion isn’t winning too many over with word-of-mouth marketing, but it’s still a decent flick for some who haven’t seen it to check out. The Big Wedding just looks like a chore to endure. Pain & Gain host a hefty amount of talent, and with a name like Michael Bay behind it, there will be a crowd in the theaters.